Thursday, December 9, 2010

My View

Random thoughts from a warped and fevered mind...

President Obama faced the realities of his political world when he agreed earlier this week to extend the tax cuts enacted under President Bush by another two years. The extension is yet to be finalized and sent to the President for his signature, but I believe it will be done soon. This is good news for an economy struggling to climb out of a very deep recessionary hole. However, we should view this deal for just what it is: a two year reprieve from the confiscatory grasp of the federal government to fund runaway spending programs. An individual or a business invests based on the estimated return on the capital invested over time. One of the critical components of determining return is the expected tax rate. We have delayed what were to be substantial tax increases by 24 months- not necessarily an inducement for business to put more money into capital equipment, expansion, or new hires. Because the tax cuts are temporary, there is less of an incentive to make these major investments than if there were more permanence to the tax code. Positively, there is a 100% expense deduction for businesses that make capital investments in 2011 and 50% in 2012. This will, however, pull growth forward from 2013 and beyond, which forebodes another slump in this area.  Liberal Democrats are steamed that Obama has agreed to this extension and other provisions, and I think their reaction is instructive for all of us. Although they argue that we don't need tax cuts for the "wealthy" in the midst of a recession, the reality is that they do not want to cut spending. Liberal Democrats have proposed insignificant and symbolic cuts to federal programs while being irritated that the producers in our economy get to keep a greater portion of the fruits of their labors. Liberal Democrats should realize that they have not been betrayed by Obama, but that their economic agenda is one doomed to failure.

I once asked my parents is I was a "gifted" child. They told absolutely- that there was no way they would have paid to have a child like me.

Remember when then President George W. Bush said that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that was one of the principles used to justify the invasion of that nation? Remember when the chemical and nuclear weapons were not readily found, and the outcry against Bush and the war in Iraq? The mainstream press trumpeted the mantra "Bush Lied, People Died", and the President was castigated and vilified in the press as being inept and invading a sovereign nation to benefit his "oil buddies". Well, along comes WikiLeaks and the thousands of cables and classified information that have been revealed to the public (I'm not going to delve into that one right now. That is for another post)? And what do they reveal? Let Noah Shachtman, a non-resident fellow of the liberal Brookings Institute tell you,

By late 2003 even the Bush White House's staunchest defenders were starting to give up on the idea that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But WikiLeaks newly released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins, and uncover weapons of mass destruction. Chemical weapons, especially, did not vanish from the Iraqi battlefield."
In 2008, our military shipped out of Iraq 550 metric tons of yellowcake uranium, a precursor to enriching nuclear fuel. If you are expecting the mainstream media to step forward and say they were wrong about the lack of WMD's in Iraq, I wouldn't hold your breath.

My son asked me if it was true that in some parts of the world a man did not know his wife until he married her. I told him that was true in every country.

War is viewed as an armed conflict between two nations. The bellicosity between warring nation states has evolved from throwing stones and hand to hand combat to launching sophisticated guided weapons from thousands of miles away. The nature of war is changing once again and we are glimpsing one of the ways that it will be waged with the whole WikiLeaks saga. After the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, WikiLeaks supporters initiated directed denial of service (DDOS) attacks on MasterCard, Visa, and The first two because they had stopped processing payments for WikiLeaks; Amazon was hit with a DDOS attack because it revoked the use of the WikiLeaks computer servers. According to the group "Anonymous", a loose confederation of hackers and technogeeks that support Assange, they launched other waves of attacks as well. The group has vowed to continue to cyberattack any perceived enemy of WikiLeaks and Assange. The leaked State Department cables also show that the Chinese were involved in cyberterrorism against the U. S., and specifically Google. As I type this on my computer,there could be a cyberwar going on about which I am clueless. I do know, however, that the attempt to infiltrate and disrupt a company or a nation's computer and technological systems, if successful, can create economic havoc. And that is one of the new faces of modern warfare.

Alcohol leads nowhere, but I gotta tell ya, the route sure is scenic.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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